In this post I will be answering some common questions regarding the Certified Local Government Budget Officers Program or CLGBO. To be clear this is what had been referred to as the CBEO (Certified Budget and Evaluation Officers) Program.
First, let’s start with an awesome overview of the program that former NCLGBA President Michelle Daniels and the SOG put together!
The mission of the North Carolina Local Government Budget Association (NCLGBA) is to promote the budgeting profession through education, networking, and advocacy. As a strategy to promote the educational component of this mission, the NCLGBA created a certification program in July 2008 for members of the association to become Certified Budget & Evaluation Officers (now the CLGBO). Individuals seeking to become a CLGBO must possess a certain level of professional experience, must take five courses, and must pass three exams. I am writing this blog to respond to some of the most common questions associated with the certification, with the goal of promoting the certification program among budget and evaluation professionals.
Where can I obtain information on the certification program?
The website (www.nclgba.org) of the NCLGBA contains information on how to become certified, the benefits and values of certification, the upcoming courses and exams, and the list of certified budget & evaluation officers.
Do I have to be a member of the NCLGBA?
Yes. Individuals must be a member of the NCLGBA, including the association’s listserv.
How many years of professional experience do I need before seeking certification?
Individuals must have eight or more years of professional experience in local government budget and evaluation. This number decreases for individuals who possess more formal education. For example, individuals with an undergraduate degree need five or more years of professional experience and individuals with a master’s degree need three or more years of professional experience.
Do I have to complete my professional experience before taking the courses and respective exams?
No. In fact, individuals are encouraged to complete the courses and exams while obtaining the necessary years of experience.
How many courses do I have to take?
You must take five courses in the areas of budgeting, capital finance, performance measurement, and evaluation.
Where can I take the courses?
The School of Government offers courses in these areas on an annual basis. Another possibility is courses offered by the Government Finance Officers Association.
The required courses are:
Do I have to take all five courses if I have taken related courses in pursuing my master’s degree?
Yes. Master-level courses cannot be substituted for continuing educational courses associated with the certification program.
How many exams must I take and what constitutes a pass?
You must take three exams in the areas of budgeting, capital finance, and performance measurement and management and must successfully answer 80 percent or more of the questions on each exam (there is not an exam related to the evaluation course).
Do I have to wait until I have taken all the courses before taking the exams?
No. In fact, you are encouraged to take the respective exam for each course as soon as you have taken the course to increase the probability of success.
How many times can I take an exam?
There is not limit on the number of times an individual may retake the exam.
Is a study guide available for the exams?
Yes. It can be found on the NCLGBA’s website.
What else should I do to prepare for my exams?
Of course you should look at the guide, but even better would be to go through your notes, readings, and slides from your coursework that you took to meet the requirements. For many of the exams there are resources like Introduction to Local Government Finance and Budgeting in North Carolina Local Governments that are helpful refreshers.
When are exams offered?
Exams are currently only offered twice a year in conjunctions with the summer and winter conferences of the NCLGBA. This is the only opportunity to take the exams and they are only offered once per conference. There are no exceptions.
How do I become certified once I have completed the certification requirements?
You must complete the certification application form, which can be found on the NCLGBA’s website.
When will I receive my certification?
You will receive a letter from the president of the NCLGBA once your application has been approved. You will receive the actual certificate at the following conference of the NCLGBA!
Please note: Applications must be received before the planning meeting for the upcoming NCLGBA conference. If it is received after the planning meeting you will be eligible to receive your certification at the following NCLGBA conference.